Hardship Exemption for 2016 Meaningful Use Adjustment

Did you attest to Meaningful Use (MU) in 2014? If not, you will be subject to a payment adjustment in 2016 unless you meet the hardship exemption and apply for it by July 1, 2015.

As with other CMS programs, penalties are based on your actions from two years prior to the year in question. The penalty for not having attested to MU in 2014 will be 2% in 2016. Hardship exemptions are valid for ONE year. If you were exempt for 2015, you must reapply and be granted an exemption to avoid the 2016 penalty.

There are a number of exemption categories. They include:

  • Lack of face-to-face interaction with patients
  • Lack of infrastructure
  • Lack of control over the availability of Certified EHR Technology
  • Unforeseen and/or uncontrollable circumstances

The following providers are not required to complete an exemption form.

  • New providers to the profession in their first year (both eligible professionals and eligible hospitals)
  • Eligible professionals who are hospital-based: a provider is considered hospital-based if he or she provides more than 90% of their covered professional services in either an inpatient (Place of Service 21) or emergency department (Place of Service 23) of a hospital*
  • Eligible professionals for whom 90% of their claims include Place of Service 21, Place of Service 23 and certain observation services using Place of Service 22.
  • Eligible professionals with certain PECOS specialties (05-Anesthesiology, 22-Pathology, 30-Diagnostic Radiology, 36-Nuclear Medicine, 94-Interventional Radiology) 6 months prior to the first day of the payment adjustments. Eligible professionals should verify that their PECOS specialty is up to date.


Complete details on payment adjustments and hardship applications can be found on the CMS website at: http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/paymentadj_hardship.html

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